Reliability Summit Identifies Key Priorities for North American Bulk Power System

Sept. 9, 2015
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation convened more than 100 industry executives on Aug. 25 for its third annual Reliability Leadership Summit.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. convened more than 100 industry executives on Aug. 25 for its third annual Reliability Leadership Summit. The goal of this meeting was to discuss bulk power system reliability priorities in light of the changing nature of both the grid and reliability, along with mitigating risks from cyber and physical security.

“Prioritizing risk efforts and developing mitigation strategies are key to ensuring bulk power system reliability and security in the future, ” said Gerry Cauley, NERC president and chief executive officer in his closing remarks. “Bringing industry leaders and North American partners together to discuss issues that pose potential risks unifies and focuses NERC’s efforts. Results from this summit are incorporated into the development of NERC’s business plan and budget and our strategic plan. ”

The Reliability Leadership Summit provides industry leaders the opportunity to have a robust discussion on the key aspects of reliability issues. The subjects were diverse, discussing the conversion of cyber and physical security data into actionable information, system modeling and essential reliability service needs, as well as policy and jurisdictional issues.

Keynote addresses were given by Colette Honorable and Philip Moeller, commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability at the Department of Energy. Other speakers/panelists included experts from American Electric Power, Duke, Dominion Power, the American Public Power Association, Great River Energy, MidAmerican Energy Co., Southern Company, Xcel Energy Inc., the Alberta Electricity System Operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ISO New England and PJM Interconnection.


During closing remarks of the summit , Cauley highlighted three broad categories for focus:

  • Things industry knows and does well. NERC and industry have focused efforts on training, tools and vegetation management over the past 5-7 years. In that time, vegetation management outages have been reduced to zero and relay loadability issues continue to drop. Additional work continues to address risks to reliability, such as relay misoperations.
  • Emerging trends. Industry must continue to monitor and prepare for the evolution of the bulk power system. Issues such as generation mix changes , infrastructure needs, distributed resources and demand response represent a significant transformation. NERC and industry must look ahead to quantify and forecast what will be needed to maintain reliability and to adapt to meet these new needs.
  • Predicting and preparing for unforeseen risks. There may be risks to the reliable operation of the bulk power system that cannot be easily seen, predicted with the current tools or have not yet been experienced. NERC and industry must improve situational awareness to go beyond just assessing past trends, but to also enhance the predictive capability to support industry preparedness to mitigate these risks .

As the electric reliability organization, NERC enhances and improves the reliability and resiliency of the bulk power system based on a technical foundation of data and analysis. Information sharing and discussion ensures stakeholders can gather broad perspectives and develop focused efforts on the aspects that pose the most risk to reliability. The Reliability Leadership Summit dialogue will be used to update the reliability risk profiles developed by the Reliability Issues Steering Committee, which will then be presented to the NERC Board of Trustees at its Nov. 5 meeting in Atlanta.

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